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Can These Two Really Make a Love Connection?

August 10, 1994|LESLIE KNOWLTON | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

She's 26, a just-divorced mother of two young children and the only child of celebrities who separated when she was 4. Her mother is an actress. Her father, who by most reports died more than 15 years ago, was addicted to drugs.

After a turbulent adolescence marked by bodyguards, tony private schools and reported drug skirmishes, she married a little-known musician and flirted with an acting career. Reclusive and mysterious, the pouty heiress has helped manage her father's estate.

Birth date: Feb. 1, 1968.

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He's 35, a lifelong entertainer and bachelor who harks from a large and once working-class family. This child prodigy's mother was a homemaker, and his strict father, whom one sister claims molested her, used to manage his career. With a propensity for excess, perfectionism, fantasy, odd dressing and plastic surgeries, off-stage he is notoriously shy and reclusive, although he's been seen escorting starlets and has been in trouble for alleged child molestation and was recently treated for prescription drug addiction.

Birth date: Aug. 28, 1958.

He, of course, is the Gloved One, the King of Pop Michael Jackson of Neverland. She is Lisa Marie Presley, daughter of crowned King of Rock Elvis Presley of Graceland.

Married in secret on May 26, they plan to raise a family, according to a written statement by Mrs. Lisa Marie Presley-Jackson, a missile that raises more questions than it answers.

Is she after him for his money? Is he after her for her money? Was Elvis at the wedding?

Most important, can this peculiar merger, this family therapist's challenge, survive? Naming no names at first, we provided the above profiles to five analysts for their expert opinions.

Syndicated columnist Dr. Joyce Brothers:

"It'll succeed beyond belief because they have so much in common. Their problems were a sense of not having been given love and not having learned to give love in return. Both are reclusive but (that's) very lonely, so how nice to be a recluse with a buddy. . . .

"Their problems mesh with each other. You have one with the problem of always having everything without ever having to work and the other always having had to work. So what you have here are people on opposite end of extremes and they're balancing each other by coming together.

"Their difficulties . . . can make them stronger and their similarities can allow for them to be best friends and keep them away from drugs. She can work out issues with her father and . . . he can break the (family) cycle of abuse by being protective and caring toward her, which is what she needs. The bumps in his head fit the holes in hers. I can't think of a better union for both."

Pasadena clinical psychologist Gary Brainerd, a certified Imago Relationship Therapist who heads "Getting the Love You Want" workshops across Southern California:

"Without seeing the people, I could only say that the relationship is fraught with difficulties. If they are willing to do the necessary work there is potential for healing and success, but it will require a great deal of courage, persistence and knowledge. We tend to pick people with significant problems which are similar to those our parents had so it makes sense that they are significantly attracted.

"They've both experienced significant wounding complicated by significant life benefits, such as wealth and the freedom that comes from that. But clearly the wounds outweigh the benefits so it makes sense that two people like that find each other.

"There will be a power struggle phase where the wounds will get activated and that will be the critical period. How they deal with the resulting anxiety, pain and disillusionment will determine the success of the relationship. I would encourage them to get into marital therapy very early with someone who really understand these kinds of complications."

Beverly Hills matchmaker Debra Winkler:

"Although on the surface they appear as volatile personalities destined to (marital) failure, on close examination there are a lot of deep similarities. Both have had very unusual and extremely difficult childhoods, been surrounded and deeply involved in the music industry since infancy, been constantly subjected to media attention and grew up in fishbowl existences, therefore becoming reclusive.

"Since lasting relationships are based on similarities, not differences, I think this could be a very powerful and deeply connected relationship. Neither will feel exploited for monetary reasons or to gain notoriety (because) both are wealthy and famous in their own right. If they haven't been too scarred to have a relationship, they could be extremely supportive of each other's past experiences in a way few others in the world could. I don't know about the sex part, but not every marriage is based on that."

Joan Quigley, onetime astrologer to Nancy Reagan:

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